With everything that’s going on in the world these days, I’ve been especially contemplative. It think it’s easy to forget to be thankful when the world goes to shit, but also I think it’s really important. Nighttime has always been my introspective times. With the stress of life and the anxieties of living through a pandemic, I just really wanted to take a minute to truly understand the magnitude of my fortune and privilege.
I live in a developed country with universal health care and good opportunities for education and employment. I’m a high school graduate, and I’m healthy. I’ve never had to worry about being sick or taking daily medications to keep my body working properly. Okay, so I’ve got mental health issues, but who doesn’t, these days? I’ve gathered a small but secure social group who supports me through everything, and I know that already makes me much more fortunate than many people.
I read the news. It’s appalling, the racism, homophobia, and terror that’s being inflicted on innocent people. Black men dying for no reason other than being black? My son is going to grow up in this world, and there are times that it makes me sick. He’s privileged, already, born a white male in a racist patriarchy of a society. He will never be stopped because of his colour, and neither will I, and I’m absolutely disgusted that this kind of behaviour is ever seen as appropriate.
Though money is a struggle, to me, sometimes, I’m putting more effort these days into remembering that I never have to struggle alone. I’ve always had a place to live, a bed to sleep in, enough food to keep myself satisfied. As a single parent, I think it’s especially hard to remember, I often need a reminder. I’m blessed to make enough money to support my family, and even if I didn’t, I’ve always got somebody willing to help me. It’s sometimes hard to stay optimistic. I can never be pessimistic without feeling guilty about it afterwards, like I’m an awful person for pitying myself and my life when, in the grand scheme of things, I’m very well off. I think it’s important to remember your struggles are not invalidated by somebody else’s seeming worse. I’m not an awful person for struggling even with all the privilege and opportunities I’ve had in life.
I wish I could change the world. I’m trying, as much as it’s possible for one person to do on their own. I never feel I’m doing enough, and I always forget that it’s just about a little at a time. Of course, it takes a village: they say that about raising kids, but I feel it’s true about changing the world as well. The trouble is that we live in a mostly egotistical world, and people don’t care about changing things that don’t affect them. We’re all connected, as humans, all influenced by others’ lives, even in the smallest ways. Black men getting shot and choked in the streets are somebody’s children, somebody’s neighbour, somebody’s friend.
See, I was lucky enough to have been born into a middle-class family in a safe country, but not everyone has that luxury. I kind of feel like, as humans, we’re sort of all obligated to look out for each other. Give voices to people whose voices are being ignored. Give acceptance to people whose families cast them away, food to people who are starving. I just feel like that’s the only way to change the world. You can’t, unless you change the people who live in it.